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Physical Barriers, Cultural Connections: A Reconsideration of the Metal Flow at the Beginning of the Metal Age in the Alps by Laura Perucchetti. iv+180 pages; illustrated throughout with 35 plates in colour. 339 2017. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784916145. £35.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784916152. £19.00 (Inc. UK VAT) Book contents pageBuy Now

Physical Barriers, Cultural Connections: A Reconsideration of the Metal Flow at the Beginning of the Metal Age in the Alps considers the early copper and copper-alloy metallurgy of the entire Circum- Alpine region. It introduces a new approach to the interpretation of chemical composition data sets, which has been applied to a comprehensive regional database for the first time. An extensive use of GIS has been applied to investigate the role of topography in the distribution of metal and to undertake spatial and geostastical analysis that may highlight patterns of distribution of some specific key compositional element.

The Circum-Alpine Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age show some distinctively different patterns of metal use, which can be interpreted through changes in mining and social choices. But there are also some signs of continuity, in particular those which respect the use of major landscape features such as watersheds and river systems. Interestingly, the Alpine range does not act as a north-south barrier, as major differences in composition tend to appear on an east-west axis. Conversely, the river system seems to have a key role in the movement of metal. Geostastical analyses demonstrate the presence of a remelting process, applicable also in the case of ingots; evidence that opens new and interesting questions about the role of ingots and hoards in the distribution of metal at the beginning of the Metal Age. New tools and new analysis may also be useful to identify zones where there was a primary metal production and zones where metal was mostly received and heavily manipulated.

About the Author: Laura Perucchetti is a researcher at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at the University of Oxford. She is part of a team that is working on metal flows across Eurasia, where she is the database and GIS expert.

She completed her undergraduate studies in Archaeology at the University of Milan, and her BA thesis was on the creation of a database encompassing all archaeological finds of the Bronze Age from the Italian province of Veneto. She obtained a Master’s Degree in Earth Science at the University of Milan, based on her analysis of Copper and Early Bronze Age metal artefacts found in hoards and on sites of Northern Italy.

After working for two years in commercial archaeology she successfully completed a DPhil at the University of Oxford with a thesis in which she used a combination of GIS an chemical data on metal artefacts to understand the movement of metal across the Alps. This book is derived from that work.

In her career, Laura has won several student awards, participated in international conferences and published an article in the European Journal of Archaeology. She is actively contributing to the lab work of the RLAHA in teaching, organizing seminars and arranging lab space.
Old Kingdom Copper Tools and Model Tools by Martin Odler. xvi+292 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white. 275 2016 Archaeopress Egyptology 14. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784914424. £45.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784914431. £19.00 (Inc. UK VAT) Book contents pageBuy Now

The Old Kingdom of Egypt (Dynasties 4–6, c. 2600–2180 BC) is famous as a period of the builders of the largest Egyptian pyramids. It is generally accepted that the evidence on the use of copper alloy tools from this era is meagre. Martin Odler gathers the textual, iconographic and palaeographic evidence and examines Old Kingdom artefacts in order to revise this view on the use of copper alloy tools and model tools. Furthermore, he provides updated definitions of tool classes and tool kits, together with the context of their use. Besides rare specimens of full-size tools, the largest corpora of the material have been preserved in the form of model tools in the burial equipment of the Old Kingdom elite and were most probably symbols of their power to commission and fund craftwork. Moreover, the size and elaboration of the model tools were probably connected to the social status of the buried persons. The long-standing division in the Egyptological literature between full-size tools and model tools is questioned. The ancient sources also enable to show that the preservation of material culture from the Old Kingdom was largely dependent on a conscious selection made within the past culture, with completely different settlement and funerary contexts and a conspicuous absence of weapons. The volume is completed by co-authored case studies on archaeometallurgy of selected Old Kingdom artefacts in the collection of the Egyptian Museum of Leipzig University, on morphometry of Old Kingdom adze blades and on the finds of stone and ceramic vessels associated with the findings of so-called Old Kingdom model tools.

Martin Odler provides an accessible introduction and overview of his research in his article for the Archaeopress Blog. Click here to read the blog post.

Reviews:

“In short: the authors have succeeded in presenting a reference and standard work, in which no one who is concerned with this period and this material should pass by; a work that will always be consulted with pleasure and joy.”Robert Kuhn, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (KunstbuchAnzeiger.de) (Translated from the German)
Rhesus' Gold, Heracles' Iron: the archaeology of metals mining and exploitation in NE Greece by Nerantzis X Nerantzis. ISBN 9780956824028. £35.00 (No VAT). Buy Now

East Macedonia in northern Greece has rich deposits of gold and silver as well as copper and iron ores. The gold and silver were important to Classical Athens and even more so to Alexander the Great’s Hellenistic world. Copper was extracted as early as the Late Neolithic, and iron was worked from the Iron Age to Ottoman times. Bringing to life the essential background to this wealth derived from metals, this book looks at the archaeological and archaeometallurgical evidence, some of it very new, for the mining and processing of the ores and the extraction of the metal. The book is written with the visitor to the region very much in mind, taking the reader closer to the landscapes where these practices took place to make sense of ‘silent landscapes’ where so much happened at one time but where nature has now taken over the remains of buildings, installations and heaps of waste rendering them ‘mute’ and meaningless for all but the expert historian of technology. Written by a native of the region who has himself been directly involved in field and laboratory work on ancient metallurgy, this book will raise the profile of this aspect of the region’s past as well as the region’s great natural beauty.

About the Author:
N Neratzis is an archaeologist working for the Greek Archaeological Service in eastern Macedonia. He combines extensive fieldwork experience with a specialism in archaeometallurgy; his recent PhD was on metals extraction during the Byzantine period, in N. Greece.
Metallurgy in Ancient Ecuador A Study of the Collection of Archaeological Metallurgy of the Ministry of Culture, Ecuador by Roberto Lleras Perez. 150pp; full colour throughout. 168 2015 Archaeopress Pre-Columbian Archaeology 5. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784911607. £28.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784911614. £19.00 (Inc. UK VAT) Book contents pageBuy Now

Metallurgical activity was present in Ecuador from at least 1500 BC; by around the beginning of the Common Era metallurgical manufacture and use had extended to most of the Costa and Sierra. Regional styles soon evolved giving rise to high levels of technical craftsmanship and to shaping particular iconographic and decorative patterns. Copper, gold, silver and platinum were mined, processed and converted into thousands of ornaments, offerings, tools and weapons extensively used both by elites and by the common people. By 1450, the Incas had invaded most of the Ecuadorian Sierra and eventually they integrated the diverse metallurgical traditions into their state-managed metallurgical industry. The European conquest in the sixteenth century deeply affected the native metallurgical activities, even though in some regions copper continued to be worked throughout the colonial period. The reconstruction of the general outlines of this fascinating historical process was made possible through the study of the collection of archaeological metal objects of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage of Ecuador, the compilation of previous archaeological references, laboratory analyses and C14 dating of museum objects. This work is the first one of its kind to be published on the ancient metallurgy of Ecuador.
Technology of Sword Blades from the La Tène Period to the Early Modern Age The case of what is now Poland by Grzegorz Żabiński and Janusz Stępiński with Marcin Biborski. vi+363 pages; illustrated throughout in black & white. 122 2014. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784910280. £51.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784910297. £19.00 (Inc. UK VAT) Book contents pageBuy Now

This book assesses the results of recent metallographic examination of 45 sword blades (mid-2nd century BC to early-16th century) from the territory of what is now Poland. Pre-Roman blades were usually made from one piece of metal of varying quality (better quality items were perhaps imported). Most high quality and complex technology Roman blades were in all probability of Roman provenance, while some low quality one-piece examples may have been made locally. The Migration Period and Early Middle Ages witnessed the greatest diversification of technological solutions. However it is much more difficult to define the provenance of blades based on their technology in these periods. The range of technologies in use strongly decreased in the High and Late Middle Ages.
Eros, mercator and the cultural landscape of Melos in antiquity The archaeology of the minerals industry of Melos by Effie Photos-Jones and Alan J Hall. 261 pages; illustrated in full colour throughout.ISBN 9780956824011. £45.00 (No VAT). Buy Now

The island of Melos in the Cyclades has a rich archaeology having played an important part in prehistory and throughout history. But owing to its unique geology it is also home to a wide array of rocks and minerals which have been exploited since the first human occupation of the island. This book is about the archaeology of the minerals industries of Melos in antiquity. The localities of their extraction and the type of processing they may have been subject to have been reconstructed on the basis of archaeological evidence.

At the site of Aghia Kyriaki, SE Melos, there is evidence for large-scale exploitation of alum in the Late Roman period, its processing in large shallow vessels and packaging into amphorae; there is also evidence for the use of geothermal energy there and in neighbouring Palaeochori Bay; there are phreatic explosions near the sulphur mines at Fyrlingos; finally, there are the egkoila of Melos, the rock-cut cavities carved out of the island’s ubiquitous white altered volcanic rock which gave rise to its minerals.

The ancient texts and epigraphic evidence also take centre stage, depicting the nature of Melian society from the momentous events of 416BC to the Late Roman period. This book will have wide appeal to archaeologists and historians, to geologists and mineralogists and to all those interested in the island or just visiting it.

About the Authors:
Effie Photos-Jones is an archaeological scientist and director of SASAA, a company based in Glasgow specializing in the scientific analysis of archaeological materials. She has co-directed archaeological research projects in the Aegean and carried out many archaeometallurgical studies in Greece including at Lavrion. She has published extensively on the topic of ancient technologies. Her current interests focus on early mineral pharmacological agents and the industries that made them available in antiquity.

Alan J Hall recently retired as Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow where he taught geoarchaeology. His specialist research interests are in mineralogy and geochemistry. He co-directed the research project on Melos.
Copper Shaft-Hole Axes and Early Metallurgy in South-Eastern Europe: An Integrated Approach by Julia Heeb. viii+167 pages; illustrated throughout in black and white with some colour. With CD. 97 2014. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781905739837. £32.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781905739905. £19.00 (Inc. UK VAT) Book contents pageBuy Now

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Although the copper axes with central shaft-hole from south-eastern Europe have a long history of research, they have not been studied on a transnational basis since the 1960s. What has also been missing, is trying to use as many methods as possible to better understand their production, use and context. A database was compiled to find answers to questions regarding patterns of distribution, context, fragmentation and deformation. Aspects of production were considered through experimental archaeology, metallographic analysis and a re-discovered axe blank with missing shaft-hole. The typology was re-evaluated and modified to ensure comparability across modern national boundaries. The integration of these approaches yielded some interesting results. The great variability in shape clearly shows that a variety of production techniques were used, but it is difficult to relate these to specific geographic areas. In fact the typology as well as the practice of marking the axes indicate that traditional archaeological ‘cultures’ rarely correspond to axe types and marking practices. Instead there were different spheres of influence, some more localised and others much larger than specific ceramic traditions. These different levels of belonging show that it was a period of complex cultural patterns and interactions. The axes were part of these networks of daily life on many different levels from the utilitarian to the ritualised placement in burial contexts.
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